Thursday, June 18, 2015

Creamy Grilled Eggplant Dip

Recently I had a few friends over and made this grilled egg plant dip to serve with appetizers.
This is a make ahead dip and can be put together very easily.
Serve them with pita chips or any chips of your choice. Mine served a lot of people and you can reduce the quantity if you are making for a few people.

Get Ready: ( serves 20 plus people)

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 1 small tub of sour cream
  • Lots of finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1 Red chilli powder
  • 2-3 thai green chilli finely chopped ( optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  • Wash and dry the egg plant. Poke a couple of holes on them with a fork. 

  • Cover with foil and grill them on a medium gas flame turning them multiple times.

  •  Keep the grill closed. Cook them till the are soft. One can also roast them on open gas flame to get a nice smokey flavor. Let tit cool well, peel the skin off, it comes easily and take the flesh of the cooked eggplant.

  • Mash the cooked flesh with a fork into a nice pulp.

  • This can be made ahead and kept refrigerated.
  • Before serving, add the sour cream, desired salt, chopped cilantro and mix.
  • In a pan, add the oil, add the red chilli powder and cumin. once the cumin seeds sizzle, pour it over the dip.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Banana Bread ( Version 2)

Here is a very easy, no nonsense banana bread recipe to make. This is a second version and it was as good as my previous one.

Best Banana Bread

Kids are at home for the summer and they are always hungry. I am sure, you like me must be getting tired of providing healthy snacks for them when at home.

 Get your kids involved in baking this and they will love this. This can be made in no time.

Last Sunday, we decided to make this in the afternoon and my kids loved in cracking the eggs, mashing the banana saying" eew, eew", licking the batter and had so much fun. The recipe can be easily halved and that is what I did. So, it filled only half of the loaf pan and was ready in 40 mins of baking.

The final product tasted very good and was soft after 3 days too.

Get Ready

  • 1/2 cup butter at room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 4 ripe bananas mashed 
  • 1 & 1/2 cup all purpose flour ( maida)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract ( i did not have this, but original recipe calls for it)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease your loaf pan with cooking spray
  • Sift the flour, salt, baking soda and set aside.
  • Cream butter and sugar. You can use a spatula or an electric mixer.
  • Add the eggs and beta well till frothy.
  • Add the mashed banana , vanilla extract and mix well
  • Add the sifted flour mixture and fold with a spatula. Do not beat this mix.
  • Pour into the greased loaf pan and bake for 50 mins - 1 hr or till an inserted tooth pick comes out clean.
Remove it out of the oven, let it cool well, slice and enjoy for breakfast or an evening snack with a cup of chai!

Sorry, could not do step by step pictures with little helpers in the kitchen!

Other options:

Adding chocolate chips, chopped walnuts would be tasty too.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Grilled Paneer & Vegetables

Tucson is very popular to enjoy year round sunshine. Every house has an outdoor grill and people have a lot of outdoor parties.
Come memorial day, there is a lot of outdoor grilling and barbecue here. I have been grilling corn, Trader Joe's masala veggie burgers 9 they are da bomb ), zucchini etc and enjoying them. I recently wanted to try grilling paneer and was pleased with the results. My teenager and DH loved it as well.

I made them a paneer and vegetable skewers. It is simple and just needs some prep work done.

I used store bought " Gopi" brand paneer, red bell peppers, red onions and zucchini. One can use mushrooms, tomatoes or even pineapple chunks to go in the skewers.

I used bamboo skewers and I recommend soaking them in water for 1 hr as it helps them from not burning while on the grill. I used them before without soaking and the whole skewer stick was charred. Other option is to use metal skewers.
You need good amount of cooking spray on the skewered paneer  and on the grill

Get Ready ( made about 6-8 skewers)

  • Paneer 1 big block as sold in Indian stores  ( used 3/4 of it) cut into medium sized rectangles
  • 1/2 red bell pepper cut into big chunks
  • 1/4 red onion cut into big chunks
  • 1 Zucchini sliced into 2 inch rounds
  • Non stick Cooking spray  ( your best friend for this)
  • Skewers soaked in water

For the Marinade

  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 small green chilli
  • 1 tbsp ginger chopped
  • 3 tbsp  plain Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp besan/ Kadalai mavu
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt to taste
  •  1/2 tsp of  chaat masala
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder

Put all the ingredients for marinade into a blender and make a  paste.

Cut the paneer chunks and soak them in the marinade for at least 8-10 hrs in the refrigerator. 

Marinate the veggies in the same marinade. You can do it together with the paneer in a zip lock back or separately as I did.

Soak your skewers in water for 1 hrs.

Before Grilling

  • Take the skewers and insert a veggie, onion, paneer or in any order you want. keep them aside

  • Set your grill on the medium setting till everything gets heated for few mins
  • Spray your grill grates and the skewers with cooking spray.
  • Place them on the grill, cover and cook for 5-7 mins, turning the skewers so all the paneer and veggies are cooked
  • Once you seethe paneer golden, with grill marks you are all set to enjoy them.
  • Serve them hot with mint/ cilantro chutney or ketchup.
Enjoy and happy grilling!